Time for Noodles at Pho 79

I love noodles.  But I’m sure you knew that already, if you’ve been following along with me on my foodie adventures.

Tonight, I had a bowl of Vietnamese bun noodles at Pho 79* in Davie (South Florida).  I ordered it with beef (instead of my usual pork), and thought it was just as delicious.  I think the beef itself was even a bit less salty than the pork usually is, which is a bonus in my book!  The thinly julienned carrots and turnips pictured below in the upper right had been pickled with just the right amount of vinegar and sugar, making them quite flavorful.  The noodles were slightly chewy and slightly slippery, a pleasant smooth texture.  I’d give this a fine-good rating.

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My only complaint about the meal wasn’t about the food itself, but rather about the service.  The restaurant’s pho (soup) bowls come in three sizes: small, medium, and large, and I had asked for an explanation of the sizes.  I was basically told that small is small, medium is medium, and large is huge.  Um, hello?!  Even asking to gesture the bowl sizes was useless.  The waiter just ended up pointing at the words “small,” “medium,” and “large” in the menu.  Well, duh, I can read!  (Obviously, I didn’t end up ordering that item on the menu.)

Oh, and there was a fly that kept buzzing around like nobody’s business… if only I wasn’t distracted by my bowl of noodles…

*Location:
6451 Stirling Rd
Davie, FL 33314

On a separate note, I recently visited New Orleans for a quick weekend getaway, so stay tuned for some of my NOLA food adventures!

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Pho, Bun, and Banh Xeo at Top Pan

Did the title of this post look like a completely alien language to you?  Don’t worry, because by the end of this post, you’ll know what every one of those things are!  Hint: they’re all edible!

First off, Top Pan* is an Asian restaurant in South Florida.  It’s pretty new, so my family and I decided to check it out two weekends ago.  (By the way, you might not find it online if you’re searching for “Top Pan,” since it recently changed it’s name to “Brandon.”  Why?  No idea!)  Anyhoo, we ordered some Vietnamese, like we had at Little Saigon in Orlando just over a week ago.  Guess you could say we were on a Vietnamese kick.

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We ordered the traditional Pho Dac Biet, which translates to the Pho Special with a miscellaneous combination of beef parts, like tripe, tendon, brisket, flank, and meatballs.  In this bowl in particular, plenty (read: too much) of onion was added for flavor.  Overall, pretty standard fare.  Nothing stood out for me, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  I’d rate it a good-fine.

We also ordered the Bun Dac Biet, with spring roll.

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A Big Bowl of Bun (Vietnamese Rice Noodles)

Before returning home from vacationing in Disney, we decided to stop for Vietnamese in Orlando, at the Little Saigon* restaurant on Colonial Drive.  Vietnamese in Orlando is supposedly better than it is in South Florida, so we thought the extra 20 mile (round-trip) commute would be worth it.

At Vietnamese restaurants, I really only order one of two things… Pho (rice noodles in broth) or Bun (rice noodle “salad” that you add fish sauce to for flavoring).  At Little Saigon, I ordered the Bun with grilled pork and spring rolls.  I called it a noodle “salad” because as you can see, it comes with a bunch of lettuce, cucumbers, and bean spouts (and occasionally, other veggies and herbs as well)!

The sauce comes on the side, and you essentially add as much as you want to the bowl before thoroughly stirring up the ingredients.  On a related note, those who I’ve talked to about fish sauce either love it or hate it.  Me, I love it — at least when used sparingly.  If you’ve tried it, what do you think?

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Nothing Special About the Pho Special

After being a blob in front of the TV for most of this past week, I felt like getting out and doing something different this weekend.  I decided to head north to West Palm Beach to check out the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium.

Of course, I couldn’t go to a new place and not try a new restaurant nearby.  That would just be plain blasphemy!  After spending a good 30 minutes on Yelp this morning, I settled on a Vietnamese restaurant called Pho Vn in Boynton Beach, about 10 miles south of my final destination.  (My philosophy is that any restaurant that has more than 4 stars and more than 50 reviews is worth trying out.)

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Tucked away at the back of a shopping plaza in Boyton Beach, Pho Vn is a relatively small shop, with no more than about 10 tables inside.  010415_phovn_pho1

I ordered the Pho Special, which came with noodles and a couple different types of meat (brisket, tendon, tripe, meatballs), in a flavorful broth.  Pretty regular Vietnamese fare — and yes, I will judge a restaurant by how good their Pho Special is!  My take on the one at Pho Vn?  Standard.  No more, no less.  Tastewise, it wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but wasn’t the worst either.  I’d give my order an okay.  It also came with some herbs and bean sprouts on the side — typical pho add-ons.

To be honest though, after seeing the rating and reading the reviews on Yelp, I was a little disappointed, partially because of the relatively small serving size.  $9 for a bowl of pho that left me hungry by 6:30p… and I had only finished eating a bit after 2:00p!

010415_phovn_insideI will say that the inside of the restaurant was nicely kept, and the waitresses were polite.  I’d say those — and not so much the food — were the highlights of my visit.

*Location:
344 North Congress Avenue
Boynton Beach, FL 33426